Just one more day!
BLADE TO THE KEEP by LAUREN DANE
Copyright, 2013 Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Carina Press
Releasing in digital formats, December 9
There was a knock at the door and without thinking, Rowan stood to deal with whatever it was. Halfway there, she turned back to him and met his satisfied smile. Vampire yes. Male? That too. Utterly.
“Go on, Petal. You know what I’d find important enough. Otherwise I might spoil our lovely tea by having to discipline someone.”
Yes, it would be nice to not see someone get flailed bloody before she’d even had dinner.
She went to the door and Enzo stood there with a serene expression. She rolled her eyes at him before inviting him in. If anyone knew what Theo would be interrupted for it was Enzo, who’d taken over Rowan’s position nearly fifteen years before.
“Pardon my interruption.” Enzo went to one knee, his wrist showed, head bowed.
Theo sighed, agitation rife in the sound. “Go on.”
“Victoriana and Marcilius have arrived with a rather large cadre.”
The room went icy cold and it took every last ounce of Rowan’s control not to shrink away when Theo unfolded himself from the settee and stood with quiet, graceful menace.
“I told them they could have two attendants each. How many are human?”
“They brought ten humans. The fourteen number I gave you was Vampires.”
“They brought twenty four people into my Keep when they were forbidden to do so?”
Rowan’s heart beat so fast she had to wrench her emotions away from herself or drown in them. Being there was an important reminder. The Vampires she dealt with regularly were powerful, yes, but nothing she came into contact with could get close to Theo’s output of fear and power. It rushed from him like a hard rain.
All those times he’d taught her lessons, left her bleeding as she’d failed to distance herself from the furry animal part of her humanity had been important because she drew on it then and thanked the goddess she wasn’t on the receiving end of it.
She shielded, hard. He’d taught her that. She filtered it all away until nothing remained but a hard shell. A Vessel to a being that was just as strong and fearsome.
It was then she felt the scalding hot power rush through her and realized the Goddess had been testing her too.
He looked up at her, cocking his head, his eyes glowing with power. It was very clear Theo did not like Her in his space. In his daughter.
He spoke in their original language. “You were not invited, Goddess. Take your leave from my daughter.”
She replied. Or rather, She replied. In the same ancient words. Warning him to watch himself near Her Vessel. “She is mine, Vampire. My Vessel and I will go as I please.”
Theo took a step closer, taking a deep breath of the power radiating from Rowan.
“This is not entirely you, Brigid. My child is in there. This is her strength.”
“At last you understand. It is always her strength.”
Enzo kept his gaze on the floor the entire time—Rowan knew to keep himself out of Theo’s attention—a familiar place in Rowan’s memories. Brigid sensed Rowan’s worry for Enzo and her need to keep him out of the line of Theo’s fire, and eased back some. Enough that Rowan was again able to think clearly.
She placed herself between Theo and Enzo to keep Theo’s attention on her. “Vater, I will take my leave as it’s clear you have some problems to deal with.”
Her voice remained calm and she was proud of herself.
He growled and the hair on the back of her neck rose in response. “They will pay for this too. My daughter and I were having a cup of tea and now I must deal with this ridiculous nonsense instead! I should put every last one of them on a pike and let the crows eat their eyes.”
Coming from anyone else on the planet, Rowan would have thought the comments were overkill. But from Theo she knew they were simply something he’d already considered. Something she’d seen with her own eyes once when she was eleven and one of the neighboring Vampire rulers had overstepped his bounds.